Standing up for those who are shielding

Today, 29th May 2020, we have sent the below letter to Miriam Cates, MP for the constituency in which the PHA UK is based.

Dear Miriam Cates,

Question on behalf of people with the serious lung disease pulmonary hypertension

I am writing to you as Chair of a rare disease charity based in Chapeltown, part of your constituency.

Our charity, the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA UK), supports people living with pulmonary hypertension (PH) and their clinical teams. PH is a rare, life-limiting condition that affects the lungs and heart.  

People with this disease are officially recognised as being clinically extremely vulnerable and on Government advice, have been shielding since March. These patients, and their loved ones, are becoming increasingly concerned that despite making the huge sacrifice to shield themselves away from the world, as society begins to open up, they are in danger of being forgotten.

The Government daily briefings, and therefore the news, focus on the lifting of restrictions to allow healthy people to meet and socialise again with family and friends, go shopping, return to work and enjoy leisure activities.

Our members, whilst appreciative of the shielding support provided by government, are anxious about how long they must continue to shield for and when they may be able to see loved ones or rejoin society.

They are justifiably disappointed that this does not seem to be acknowledged by Westminster and tell us they feel ‘cast aside’ and ‘forgotten’ – despite making such a huge sacrifice.

While this sacrifice is in part done for their own physical protection it must not be forgotten it also to help protect the NHS and other crucial services.

As a charity based within your constituency, we would like to ask on behalf of our members: As restrictions start to lift, how is the Government going to ensure that those still shielding are recognised within the strategy to ending UK lockdown?

We will be watching developments carefully and look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Iain Armstrong

Chair, PHA UK

Last medically reviewed: June, 2020 • June, 2023